As the Brexit vote unfolded we spent two fascinating days helping the senior management team of one of the UK’s largest travel companies understand how it could use customer journey mapping techniques to improve business performance.
Although our work was unrelated to Brexit it was fascinating to hear their personal and business views as the result unfolded. Not surprisingly the group was, without exception, incredibly well traveled and most had worked abroad. From a personal, middle-class perspective their response was ‘how can people deprive the next generation of the opportunities for work and travel that we have so enjoyed?’.
Sadly I have to report that their business view wasn’t any brighter. They buy in Euros and sell and in Pounds and so are incredibly exposed to currency fluctuations. As a provider of what is, for the vast majority of their customers, a second foreign holiday they are also extremely vulnerable to fluctuations in consumer confidence. In the credit crisis of 2010 for example they saw a 30% fall in sales.
The hard choice they had to make on Friday 24th June 2016 was weather to let property and people go to protect a smaller, but profitable business or to hold on and risk disaster if their worst fears came to pass.
Clearly some of the most dire predictions have not come to pass (YET as many will insist) but as the uncertainty continues so companies like theirs will need to continue to guess what an increasingly uncertain future will hold for them and rise or fall by their judgement. Certainly not a game for the weak hearted.
The longer-term view of my Client was that they hire some 1,500 young British men and women every year to work in Europe serving their British guests. This, understandably is a situation that the local European population are less than keen on. My Client sees Europe stamping out this practice as soon as possible once Article 50 is triggered.
This is one of the many consequences, some positive others negative, that Brexit will spawn. For my part I hope our politicians can exceed my very low expectations and actually negotiate an outcome that is positive, supports trade and is capable of standing the test of time.